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13 Things Every First-Time Traveler Should Know

13 Things Every First-Time Traveler Should Know

I love to travel. Seeing places I’ve never seen, meeting interesting, sexy people, discovering the perfect café or restaurant, it’s all so great. But with great adventure comes great peril. Here are 13 things to know if you’re setting out on a journey to a foreign country.

1. You’re easy to spot

People in other countries have certain mannerisms, body language and styles, which you don’t. And they may or may not have a totally different skin color than you, too. That makes you an obvious target, so be aware.

2. You may get homesick

Sometimes being in a place where you don’t know anyone and you don’t know the language can be really depressing, especially if you’re there for a long time by yourself. That’s okay. If you’re bored traveling, try walking around. Ask locals for cool places to visit: this will be really helpful so you don’t stumble into a bad neighborhood.

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3. Mistakes happen

If you miss your flight or lose some money, don’t worry too much about it. Stress will make you miserable. Instead, treat your mistakes as experience. Dealing with problems will make you more easygoing. Problems are what make travel fun and interesting. In the end, they’re fun stories to tell your friends when you return home.

4. Go for you

If you’re traveling with friends, be aware that you may be forced into going places and doing things you don’t want to. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and say, “I’d rather go here,” even if it means going by yourself. Time alone on an adventure can be more rewarding than following another leader.

5. It’s okay to get lost

Getting lost can lead you to walk certain streets, meet certain people, and have certain unexpected experiences. Getting lost is the essence of what travel is about—not knowing what’s going to happen and taking it as it comes.

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6. Keep your valuables at home

Bringing your MacBook Pro to Thailand is a bad idea, especially if you’re going on an extended trip. If you really want to bring a computer, buy a cheap notebook expressly for the purpose of travel.

7. Wear a fanny pack

Pickpockets abound in crowded cities, just waiting to snatch your passport or wallet. Take precaution by buckling up. Fashions have come a long way in twenty years—today’s fannies are slimmer and sleeker than those of yore. Carry and conceal important documents and cash to keep them safe.

8. Invest in comfortable shoes

In many countries sandals are more common than sneakers. To blend in with the locals, invest in a quality pair that’s more durable than your average flip flops. You’re going to do a lot of walking. And if you’re traveling somewhere cold, a cross-trainer sneaker is a good choice.

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9. You’re going to be uncomfortable

The idea of travel is romantic. But sometimes you find yourself on an overnight bus in ninety-degree weather without a shower until next evening. These situations may seem like torture, but if you survive, they will make you stronger.

10. Get ready to fall in love

It may be with someone else, it may be with a seaside village, or it may be the memory of being on a train, not knowing what’s next. Be prepared to fall in love, have your heart broken, and move on.

11. Bring a camera

Taking pictures will be one of your best ways to remember your journey. Just be careful to keep your camera on you at all times, and try to be discreet. Cameras are crucial, but they’re also a giveaway that you’re a traveler.

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12. Journal

It can take a lot of time and effort to keep a jounal, but it’s very rewarding to revisit personal records of a trip years later. Try to avoid listing what happened during your day. Instead, get to the nitty-gritty of how it felt when you first walked into that clearing, of your first impressions of a new friend, or of your personal failures and difficulties in simply getting around. Above all, when journaling, don’t be afraid to confess.

13. You don’t have to hit all the tourist sites

When traveling there are certain sites to see, sure, but you may have as much fun walking around the streets of Rome as you do snapping photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Fighting crowds, taking tour buses and paying overpriced ticket fees are all turn offs for me. Unless it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I’m not sold on making a detour.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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